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Belles Fall Short Against Finlandia

Kelsie Bies dribbles the basketball during a game.
HOLLAND, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 77-69 final against Finlandia on day two of the Hope Tip Off Classic on Saturday.
The Lions opened the contest with back-to-back buckets, but the Belles drew even quickly with a jumper by Giavanna Paradiso and a layup by Jade Mosier less than a minute later. After ties at both 6-6 and 8-8, Maddie Rzepka gave Saint Mary's an 11-8 advantage with a three-pointer. Neither team built much wiggle room in the first quarter, but a Kelsie Bies trey with under two minutes remaining in the clock put the Belles ahead 18-13. A late second-chance bucket by the Lions, however, saw Saint Mary's carry a 21-19 lead into the second period.
Bies started the second quarter with a three-pointer and converted the old fashioned three-point play to give Saint Mary's an eight-point advantage at 27-19. A minute later, Jade Mosier regained the eight-point lead for the Belles with a jump shot in the lane to make it 29-21. Both sides hit a scoreless drought over the next two-plus minutes of action, but Delaney Rohlman hit both ends of a trip to the charity stripe to extend the lead to 31-21 midway through the quarter. Rzepka nailed a layup a short while later for a 34-23 lead by the Belles, but the Lions rattled off a 12-0 run over the final 3:33 of the quarter to nab a 35-34 lead at the break.
After Finlandia began the third quarter with a good bucket, Jadie Mosier knotted the score at 37-37 with a three-pointer. The Lions responded with the next six points, but the Belles battled right back as a Mosier layup and a three-point play by Dugas made it a one-point game at 43-32. Kelsie Bies added a pair of free throws a short while later to again pull Saint Mary's within a point at 45-44. The teams went back-and-forth over much of the final three minutes of the quarter with Nikki Murphy, Mosier, and Dugas all putting points in the scorebook as the Belles stayed within striking distance at 56-51 through 30 minutes of action.
With the Lions leading by six points with more than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Paradiso hit a big three-pointer to energize the Saint Mary's efforts. Kelsie Bies then grabbed a defensive board and hit a layup at the other end to make it a one-point game with 5:25 on the clock. Three combined possessions later, Dugas hit a free throw to cut the deficit to one at 63-62. The Lions put a pair of quick buckets on the scoreboard, but Kelsie Bies made it a one-possession game with a three-pointer to make it a two-point game with 3:26 remaining. After another bucket by Finlandia, Giavanna Paradiso connected on a free throw to keep the Belles close at 69-66 with just over two minutes remaining. The Lions, however, responded with a pair of free throws of their own and held at least a two-possession lead over the final two minutes of play on the way to the 77-69 final.
Saint Mary's had a 45-36 rebounding advantage over Finlandia in the contest. The Lions out-scored the Belles 42-26 in the paint on the day.
Kelsie Bies led the Belles with a career-high 21 points as the sophomore added five rebounds in the contest. Jade Mosier collected a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds on her way to all-tournament team honors. Giavanna Paradiso and Maddie Rzepka each posted nine points, and Bella Dugas added eight points and nine rebounds.
The Belles (2-2) return home to host Elmhurst on Wednesday, November 20 for a 7:00 p.m. contest.